Sexual Politics in Cuba: Machismo, Homosexuality, and AIDS

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Sexual Politics in Cuba: Machismo, Homosexuality, and AIDS

By Marvin Leiner
Westview Press, 1994
184 pp. $47.50
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An exhaustively documented and well constructed study that examines the Castro regime's politics toward sexual minorities and Havana's reaction to the aids crisis. Cuba has been the only country in the world to quarantine people who test positive for the HIV virus. Leiner uses official attitudes toward sexuality, gender, and aids as a barometer of Cuba's openness to dissent in other areas. The grotesque mistreatment of homosexuals in the 1960s and the current quarantine of HIV-positive people, he argues, are representative of a lack of freedom in other areas, such as the press, speech, and assembly. Leiner, an emeritus professor of education at Queens College, CUNY, has been a frequent and sympathetic visitor to Cuba over the past 25 years. He acknowledges Cuba's impressive achievements in public health and education, but his conclusion is unequivocal: "Cuba's leaders either cannot or refuse to hear that people under socialism genuinely want and are entitled to political rights and freedoms." This work is a provocative contribution, essential to a full understanding of Cuba's dilemmas and Castro's complexes, made more powerful by the fact that it is a critique from the left.

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